New city bus protocols to tackle anti-social behaviour: services will shut immediately if safety is compromised

New city bus protocols to tackle anti-social behaviour: services will shut immediately if safety is compromised

BUS services in the city will be immediately suspended if the safety of drivers or passengers is compromised.

A new protocol is now in place that will see daytime services suspended for two hours if instances of anti-social behaviour take place.

The decision comes following meetings between Bus Éireann, unions representing bus drivers, and the gardaí.

Evening services will be suspended for the remainder of the day.

The decision was taken following a spate of attacks on city buses in recent months including one incident where a bus driver was shot with a pellet gun.

Racism, abuse, and other attacks have also been reported.

On Monday, a decision was taken by Bus Éireann to halt operation of the 202 and 219 buses on Ringmahon Road, and services were instead made available via Skehard Road. This followed a rock being thrown at a bus on the road. Gardaí were informed of the incident.

The Ringmahon Road route was later reinstated, but the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) general secretary, Dermot O’Leary, has said suspensions will become common practice if the antisocial incidents continue.

“This gives us no pleasure at all, and suspensions will affect genuine users of services but the safety of our drivers and passengers has to come first.

“We absolutely do not want to inconvenience passengers but these are necessary measures. Routes will be pulled if incidents happen,” Mr O’Leary added.

Councillor Kieran McCarthy called on people to have respect for bus services.

“We need to respect the bus drivers and the job they are trying to do. There seems to be a growing disrespect towards bus drivers in the city from youths, and that’s right across Cork city. Bus drivers are just trying to do their job.

“I am in complete solidarity with the bus drivers, and gardaí need to intervene. I’m in no doubt these incidents are on their radar.”

Cork south east Labour representative Peter Horgan said people will be “majorly inconvenienced” by suspensions now that schools are back and has called for more gardaí to be placed in Cork to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“We need more gardaí, it’s as simple as that. Also, people who operate buses and public transport need to feel safe.

“We are trying to encourage people to take public transport but if the drivers aren’t safe, how is the public supposed to? This is going to result in less people using public transport and that’s a backwards step,” he added.

Attacks on buses is now set to be discussed at the next meeting of Cork City Joint Policing Committee.

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